The NRL sought an explanation from Panthers after the confusion surrounding Isaah Yeo’s HIA against the Knights last weekend. Yeo suffered a head knock in the game, just a week after leaving the field concussed against the Eels, and it was originally thought he’d been ruled out, but he simply missed the window to return as a free interchange due to treatment to the head wound continuing. The Panthers are keeping a close eye on Yeo and are confident they’ve handled the situation within the rules, and with Yeo’s long-term health as a priority. The Panthers co-captain will be rested from Saturday’s game against the Storm.
New Panthers recruit Frank Winterstein is settling into his new club exceptionally well, and has already impressed the club’s media and marketing department with how willing he is to give up his time when required. The 32-year-old, who made his Panthers debut against Newcastle last weekend, has also jumped head first into community work. For example, on Monday he went straight from being interviewed by journalists to Doonside where he is working with troubled youths.
Panthers boss Phil Gould backed a winner last weekend after he threw his support behind Penrith MP Stuart Ayres in the lead-up to the State Election. “His enthusiasm for Penrith is contagious and when matched with his work ethic, it’s easy to see why he gets results in Penrith,” Gould said in his glowing reference. Mr Ayres, who is also the NSW Sports Minister, retained the seat of Penrith at the election despite a strong swing towards Labor and One Nation.
James Maloney’s superb defence last weekend came as no surprise to Penrith’s coaching staff. They’ve been working with the veteran premiership winner on his defence all off-season after the 32-year-old became frustrated at some of his efforts last season. Clearly the work paid off as Maloney was nothing short of brilliant against the Knights. Let’s hope he can back it up against the Storm.
There’s a rumour going around that the Panthers have again been approached about playing at least one home game out of Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta in future seasons. The State Government is very keen to shore up content at the venue as its stadium strategy starts to come to life. The Panthers would be reluctant to take any games away from Panthers Stadium, with one home match already moved to Bathurst each year, but the club would obviously need to weigh up the economic benefits.
Talking of stadiums, the Panthers have apparently made an approach to the NRL about playing home finals at Panthers Stadium, especially in the opening weekend. While Penrith will most likely play home finals at Bankwest Stadium moving forward, I understand the NRL is at least considering being a little more flexible with home venue allocations in the opening weekend of the Finals, especially now that Allianz Stadium is out of action for Sydney clubs.
Viliame Kikau, who is expected to return from injury as early as next week against the Tigers, spent last weekend in his native Fiji filming a special documentary with NRL.COM. The emotional piece was released on Wednesday.
Former Panthers player and CEO Mark Levy and veteran Director Denis Merrick have been named Life Members of Panthers. The Life Memberships were confirmed at the club’s Annual General Meeting last week.
The Panthers are getting to know locals in Bathurst this weekend ahead of Saturday night’s game against the Storm. Today, the squad will attend the Peachey Richardson Gala Day in Kelso before they join more than 200 children at the Play Like a Panther Super Clinic at Bathurst Showground. Tonight the team will hold a meet and greet session.
Suspended Panthers half Tyrone May continues to keep a smile on his face despite the serious charges he’s facing in court and the uncertainty over his football career. May was spotted at Panthers training on Monday, enjoying a laugh with team mates who have done their best to keep his spirits high during a difficult time.